Integrating the many versions of self

It’s been a while. While work has been hectic the last six weeks, I am beginning to understand the purpose of where I am at this point in my life, and how each experience I have been through has brought me here.

Whereas previously on this journey I struggled with fully accepting myself and my past, a series of events and affirmations since June allowed me to better appreciate the lesser loved parts of myself. Or what I’d like to call the less likeable “versions” of who I am.

Embracing the artist in me – one of many versions of JY7.

I’ve been told from a very young age that I am someone with an innate ability to draw people towards me. School teachers used to tell my parents I had a magnetism, a charm and charisma that allowed me to instantly connect with different people, and this resulted in me becoming the popular kid in school, even whilst I was abroad for six years.

I was equally close to the jocks as well as the nerds, the asian kids as well as the caucasians, latinos, and blacks. The young and the old. This ‘gift’ carried on with me even when I transited into dating and working life eventually.

But what seemed like an incredible gift at first, turned out to be a curse before I found my true purpose. Deep down I suffered from a severe identity crisis and I was on the verge of depression.

Perfectionists like myself have a way of subconsciously rejecting little things we do not like about ourselves. But the journey of self-integration is to allow the dirty, ugly, and seemingly unacceptable parts of ourselves to receive love.

My subconscious hunger and desire for connection with people, to be well-liked and to receive the approval of those I loved morphed me into so many different versions of who I was, that at one point I found out I no longer knew who the real John was.

And that was when my journey began on 11 October 2015. Almost two years on into this journey, I am finally starting to realise how loved I fully am. Not because I am seeing anyone new, nor has my family started to love me any differently.

I am utterly loved not because I am a filial son, nor because I’ve been a student with good grades, nor a footballer/athlete who has achieved great things, nor a staff member who has worked harder than anyone else.

Blessings come in many forms. Sometimes we only need to take a step back and open our eyes to see them.

No, none of that. I have done nothing to deserve that love. But I am loved simply because I am precious in His eyes, and I know I always will be. Regardless of what I have done, failed to do, or the mistakes I will continue to make for the rest of my life. Because to put it simply, I am human.

Self-love is coming to that greater awareness and realisation that we are the sum of all our parts. Not just the good things we like about ourselves: our strengths, gifts, and talents, or the stuff we put down on our résumés to impress people with.

Neither are we simply the versions of ourselves that our parents approve of, or that our spouse and partners find loveable; or that our church groups, work colleagues and close friends are able to accept.

Coming to a greater appreciation of my new job scope, something I was previously suffering great inner turmoil over before my newfound realisation of self.

We are the full sum of our strengths and our flaws. Our beauty as well as our ugliness, our positivity as well as our si-beh-sian days, our joys and our heartbreaks, our successes and our mistakes, our achievements and our failures. The parts people find loveable but especially the ones that they don’t.

Each and every piece, fully deserving of love. And so long as we choose to reject or cut off a certain part of us: aspects of our physical apperance, our negative emotions, or parts of our past we refuse to acknowledge has happened; we can never attain a full understanding of who we are, and come to appreciation of His divine love for us.

And I believe now more than ever, that sooner or later on in our lives, we all reach that point of awareness to allow ourselves to be completely at ease with whatever role we are fulfilling, the choices we are making; knowing that the only person who can condemn us is ourselves.

Off to KL we go. On some level we have no friggin’ clue how everything is going to turn out, but we have faith that everything will be alright.

For now it’s off to Kuala Lumpur for me for the next 3 weeks to cover the 29th SEA Games. It is a new role that I am still growing into and have yet to come to terms with.

But as always, the journey continues for me. And I am sure the lessons that lie ahead will prove invaluable.


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